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Publisher's Summary

Viet Thanh Nguyen's The Sympathizer was one of the most widely and highly praised novels of 2015, the winner not only of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, but also the Center for Fiction Debut Novel Prize, the Edgar Award for Best First Novel, the ALA Carnegie Medal for Fiction, the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, and the California Book Award for First Fiction. Nguyen's next fiction book, The Refugees, is a collection of perfectly formed stories written over a period of 20 years, exploring questions of immigration, identity, love, and family.

With the coruscating gaze that informed The Sympathizer, in The Refugees Viet Thanh Nguyen gives voice to lives led between two worlds, the adopted homeland and the country of birth. From a young Vietnamese refugee who suffers profound culture shock when he comes to live with two gay men in San Francisco, to a woman whose husband is suffering from dementia and starts to confuse her for a former lover, to a girl living in Ho Chi Minh City whose older half sister comes back from America having seemingly accomplished everything she never will, the stories are a captivating testament to the dreams and hardships of immigration.

The second piece of fiction by a major new voice in American letters, The Refugees is a beautifully written and sharply observed book about the aspirations of those who leave one country for another and the relationships and desires for self-fulfillment that define our lives.

©2017 Viet Thanh Nguyen (P)2017 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

“Nguyen's gentle and expressive voice contains an authenticity of emotion along with impeccable timing and perfect pronunciation.” ( AudioFile)

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What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good collection of short stories

After reading his award-winning The Sympathizer, I wanted to follow it up by looking at some more stories from Viet Thanh Nguyen. The Refugees is a collection of eight or nine stories that saw original publication in order sources. After the success of The Sympathizer, his publisher brought these works together into this collection. All the stories feature Vietnamese characters and are set either in America as immigrant tales, or in Vietnam, as is the case with the last story of the collection featuring a father who receives a visit from a daughter who has "made it big" in the states as a pediatrician. Themes such as aging, young love, regret, and deceit work strongly throughout the collection. All of the stories are excellent and help to illuminate the lives of Vietnamese immigrants.

The author narrates the collection himself, and as is often the case with such things (SEE "The Lovely Bones," as an example) the results are good, but not great. Great narration is an art in itself, and sometimes the best idea is to bring in a hired gun for the job.

42 of 44 people found this review helpful

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Terrific storytelling

What made the experience of listening to The Refugees the most enjoyable?

Mr. Nguyen command of the English language and his storytelling. Emotional, insightful, informative.

What did you like best about this story?

Different aspects and personalities of the characters in each story

Have you listened to any of Viet Thanh Nguyen’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I listened to The Sympathizer -- though written but not read by him.
That book was excellent - listened twice.
He reads as well as he writes.
Listened to this book twice as well.

18 of 19 people found this review helpful

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amazing

As a Vietnamese refugee myself every story resonated. Thank you for allowing the rest of the world and the younger vietnamese generation to emmerse themselves in our stories.

17 of 19 people found this review helpful

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Excellent collection of short stories by author of The Sympathizer

A very well-written, imaginative collection of short stories which, like The Sympathizer, rejuvenates thoughts and meaningful memories of the Vietnam War era and the relation of that era to today's world. Recommend.

16 of 18 people found this review helpful

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  • Mark
  • Waltham, MA, United States
  • 10-26-17

Okay stories, bad narrator

This narrator made these stories hard to listen to. The first story was too supernatural and weird for me. The next two were somewhat interesting tales of refugees, but I quit after that. Excellent narration is the norm at Audible, and so this was a rare narration disappointment. I don't recommend this audiobook.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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a book of short stories

I didn't realize this was a book of short stories. at first this made it some what disjointed for me to listen to, expecting characters to reappear somewhere. I also found the first few stories less likable than the ones toward the end. Overall interesting glimpses into various lives, the author is able to help you understand the frustration, confusion and lack of support of a refugee.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Lisa
  • Austin, TX
  • 09-27-17

Compelling everyday stories of refugees

This book changes the narrative on refugees by speaking on their everyday life. From finding love to going to work, this book creates relatable stories that you just want to sit and finish. The narration is excellent and the pacing of the book makes each story distinguishable from the next.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Another brilliant work of literary art from one of my favorite authors of all time

Thank you, Viet Thanh Nguyen, for these eloquent stories.
The Sympathizer is one of my favorite novels. While re-reading it a few weeks ago, I was absolutely blown away by your mastery with words. There is no doubt that this is a book I will return to again again throughout my life as there is so much magic, not only in the character portrayals, but also the transcendent depiction of both beauty and pain. As I am intrigued by Vietnam’s history, culture and people, I greatly appreciate the ways in which you strive (and succeed in) to share accurate glimpses of it from a wide variety of perspectives.
The stories in The Refugees are like little carefully crafted jewels. I cannot say that they touched me as profoundly as The Sympathizer, but there is no doubt they are excellent, and I would recommend them to anyone, with or without an interest in Vietnam, simply for their intimate glimpses into human nature.

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Some More Engaging than Others

A beautifully written book of short stories, I enjoyed some immensely and others not so much. The first chapter was my least favorite; I’m glad I stuck it out, as some of the later chapters really engaged my interest.
As an audiobook, Chapter 1 was a bit confusing. The author narrated the stories, and it took me a while to recognize that the story’s narrator was actually female. This threw me off. The author also made a valiant effort to speak in the accents of the character speaking. In some instances it worked gorgeously; in others, not so much.
Overall, an enjoyable listen.

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An interesting combination of stories.

It was a very heartfelt combination of stories and I was surprised that I enjoyed it very much.